Hop hop hop. My writing process.

There is a blog hop doing the rounds and a couple of people (I can’t remember who at the moment) left their nominations open to anyone, so I thought I’d share my thoughts. I’ve been blogging very sporadically this year, but the past few days (some lovely comments on old blog posts and a meet up in Birmingham) have reminded me how lovely the sewing-blogging community is, so I hope reflecting on my blogging will kick-start my creativity.

1. What are you working on at the moment?
I have a couple of slow projects on the go at the moment, as well as some “sewing kits” ready to sew up. I was talking to some people yesterday about how I don’t view UFOs (UnFinished Objects) as a bad thing; I have some projects I have cut out as part of a marathon cutting session and haven’t touched since, but they are each in a bag and when I am ready/inspired to sew them I will have a satisfyingly quick project. “Sewing kits” on my shelf include a Hawthorn dress that I stopped sewing in February/March as the weather was getting too warm for a wool dress (just needs sleeves, hems and buttons), a Hawthorn blouse, and a purple jersey Tiramisu dress (cut out at the same time as this). My slow project is a woolen winter coat! I have cut the pieces and am slowly hand-basting the under-layers together.IMG_20140921_204350I also have a patchwork project in progress, to make a quilt for a friend’s baby. In knitting I have finished the body of a Hetty cardigan and chose the buttons yesterday so I’m ready to do the button bands (I’m saving the sleeves until last so I can be sure how much yarn I have and how long they can be), and I’ve just cast on a scarf (to go with my unmade coat) as a portable project now my cardi is too bulky to carry around.

2. How do you think your work differs from that of other writers in your genre?
I mostly read sewing bloggers (some of whom knit) and I guess I dabble in more different crafts so I’m not just garment sewing. Before I started sewing I was never really into clothes, so I’m not coming into sewing from a trendy high-fashion angle; I make what I like and what is comfortable and I mostly enjoy the process of making and learning.

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3. Why do you write what you write?
I started writing because I wanted to join in with Me Made June and I wanted a place to share my creations. I used to read The Sewing Forum, where I got lots of tips and advice and was sign-posted towards lots of great blogs, but it didn’t feel like the place to show off what I was making. Initially I wrote just for me, as a way to record my ideas and creations, but as people started reading and commenting I started writing tutorials and reviews to give back to the community that has given me so much help and inspiration; I don’t claim to be the best ever at certain techniques but I have learned so much from reading other blogs that I hope I can help others too.

4. What’s your writing process, and how does it work?
If I’m writing a tutorial I will take photos of everything as I go along, and when I’m writing I’ll choose the best images to match the instructions. If I am showing a finished garment I will take many many photos of a project, edit and upload the best ones and fit writing around it. I try to include a bit of the making process and details of any special features, but I really just type whatever comes into my head. When I write anything on the computer (including work) I just type, stop mid sentence and write something else that pops into my head, go back and add details/finish ideas, and read through to make sure it makes sense; Hopefully my haphazard process means that I get to share all the information I want but without sounding too formal.

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#100happydays (part 4)

I finished my #100happydays challenge a couple of weeks ago and here are the final 25 pictures.

#100 happy days 76-100 I definitely got in the habit of thinking about the day’s photo and it was a little bit weird when I didn’t have to do it (I know I never HAD to to do it, but I was determined to do all 100 days). So here in full glory is one hundred things that have made me happy (or grateful, pleased, content, or not-so-sad)

100 happy days

Picture 100 was taken the day I got discharged from the physio and she said I could try to knit again (as long as I take regular breaks every half-an-hour and keep up with strengthening exercises) so I’m hoping for a summer of knitting.

 

#100happydays (part 3)

The sun is out and my camera is charged, but I am stuck writing end of year reports so still haven’t got pictures of my newest creations! I am on day 90 of the #100happydays challenge and this round-up has two dresses I LOVE wearing so much and my first over-locked project (thanks to the super kind Miss Dibs for passing on her old machine to me)#100 happy days 51-75I can see the end of school work (for the academic year) is in sight, so hoping there will be some more frequent blogging around here soon.

 

#100happydays (part 2)

 

I have definitely got some of my sewing mojo back this half-term, but sadly the weather has been rather gloomy so I have lots of projects waiting to be photographed. If the weather doesn’t improve soon I’ll just have to take less-than-perfect pictures so I can show you pretty dresses.

I’m over half-way through my #100happydays project (this post is rather late coming as I am now on day 66) but it was really nice to look back through the month/term as it was a rather busy time.100 happy days 26-50I am quite surprised there were only 4 days of chicks, but you can see a couple of crafty projects I have been working on/was buying supplies for!

 

Hello!

Hello! Hope you haven’t missed me the past few months 🙂 I’ve been struggling with a combination of bad wrist and bad brain, so even if I’ve felt like crafting I haven’t been able to, hence there hasn’t been much to blog about.

There are a few things coming up soon that have really helped me get inspired again (Sew Dolly Clackett and Me Made May) and meeting up with the lovely Spoolettes to cheer on the amazing Rehannon in her marathon running. April is a busy birthday month so I have been forced out of bed to bake (including cake pops this week!) and weather is now good for trips to the park.

I am doing 100 Happy Days challenge and am a quarter of the way through: some days it has been hard to find one thing happy thing to take a photo of, but other days I have been having too much fun to look at my camera. Here are days 1-25.

#100happydays 1-25

Two of the photos are of dresses I have made this week now the holidays are here, and I’m hoping the weather stays bright so I can get some good pictures 🙂 I also have a tutorial coming up that I entered into a Craftsy magazine competition and has been returned to me (in hindsight I realise I had WAY too many photos in my instructions to fit in a magazine spread!). Hope you all are enjoying a nice long weekend.

Safari Adventures

There has been a bit of silence round these parts as I have been away on safari! Well, not quite as exotic as that sounds, but I needed a safari suit for a murder mystery dinner party in the depths of West London.

Apologies to my Australian readers, but my character was a loud and brash Aussie businessman who wears a safari outfit, and this was my me-made short-notice costume. I got the invite with costume details while on a Spoolette shopping trip to Goldhawk Road and was rather disappointed to discover I wasn’t going to have the chance to drape myself in Oriental silks (the mystery was set in China), but I had just bought some calico for muslins/toiling.

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I made the long shorts using my self-drafted/traced pj pattern, adding a few extra inches of ease all around. Luckily it was winter and I had to wear tights underneath, as the calico was a little too see-through to wear in public. I found some home-decor weight fabric (a remnant I got thinking I’d use it to make tote bags) that was just big enough to fit the By Hand London Victoria blazer on. I lined it with scraps of rusty red and leopard print I had (I was just a bit too late for Jungle January) since this was fancy dress, but I quite like the mix-and-match lining.

The first Victoria blazer I made fitted amazingly in the stretch twill I used, but it was lucky I made this “wearable muslin” as this stable fabric was a touch too snug around the arms. Wearable for an evening, but good to know for a future everyday version.

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No Australian outfit would be complete without a cork hat. I joked that as a non-drinker I should use milk bottle tops instead of corks, but then I found these cut little wooden spools! I borrowed a hat from a friend and sewed them in place, but they got very tangled during wearing. Strewth! Finally I used a scrap of faux fur to make a moustache (not pictured here) to complete my outfit.safari c

B-b-b-bowling!

Last weekend was fab. It was the long-awaited Spoolettes Bowling Night!

A long time ago, at the beginning of the summer, there was talk among some sewing gals about making our own bowling shirts for a trip to the bowling alley. Many many emails were sent and eventually we arranged a date that the majority of the Spoolettes could do (if you want to know what a Spoolette is, read Claire’s blog here)

Everyone looked amazing and had responded to the design challenge reflecting their own style; there were vintage-style shirts, quirky fabric choices, a couple of bowling dresses and lots of amazing hand-embroidery (putting my machine embroidery to shame). As with any blogger meet-up there were lots of cameras everywhere you looked, so check out more photos on the blogs of Claire, Nicole, Fiona, Sally, Janene.

b b b b bowling! d

b b b b bowling! bb b b b bowling! cb b b b bowling! a

My shirt was a modified Hawthorn blouse (have I shown you my Hawthorn blouse and dress yet? oops!). This was my second Hawthorn creation and I used the bowling shirt to test out some modifications (more on the fitting in a later post, I promise!)

I cut divided the pattern to create a contrast stripe down the front and back centres, and made the collar and sleeves in contrast black fabric. This was easier than I expected; measure and mark distance, draw seam allowance on either side of the line, and fold back to cut out fabric.

hummingbird skirt cDespite not trying too hard, I actually did some pretty awesome stripe-matching! (see the chevrons below) And look, I’m not standing in a hallway! I think I’ve found a good photo-shoot location in my new flat, but it relies on nice sunlight which has been lacking today. (I got dressed ready to get some pics of my Hummingbird skirt I’m wearing without the bowling shirt, but the sun had gone by 3.30pm 😦hummingbird skirt aI cut out some felt shapes and free machine embroidered them onto a scrap of fabric to create a logo. My machine did not like what I was doing at all, but its not bad for a first attempt at machine embroidery (though I definitely need some stabiliser before I do much more).

hummingbird skirt b

It was such a fun night, I can’t wait for the next Spoolette adventure!

My New Sewing Space

Hello! Do you remember me? It has been a while, so I’ll forgive you if you’ve forgotten me! Real Life has eaten into my sewing/blogging time this month as I have been packing, cleaning and moving flats. Obviously the most important part of a new place is the sewing space, and mine is almost ready to use!

sewing space 2

My sewing table is in front of the window for good light (in a few months time in spring) and is near the radiator to keep me toasty warm on dark cold nights. I am super excited that I have room for both flaps to be open so I can do cutting without moving my machine! And there is space for my mini ironing board to be near the machine for patchwork.

On the shelves I have some projects pre-prepared ready to sew, stored in pretty gift bags; there are 2 dresses with all the pieces cut out (and notions ready) and all my fabric for my next quilt. Hopefully I can make a start on one of these this weekend 🙂

sewing space 1On the other side of my table I have all my resources (well not quite all, there were a couple of boxes of fabric that didn’t fit on these shelves. oops). Books and magazines are sorted into sewing and yarn, since the collection wouldn’t fit on one shelf. All my sewing patterns are in cardboard folders and are sorted into two big gift bags (can you tell I can’t throw gift bags away?!) by garment type; dresses and jackets, and separates.

There are two slim full length mirrors in the corner which will be great for fitting garments, and my dress form is also near by for fitting and draping. My tools (tracing wheels, shears, etc) and notions (seam tape, binding, personalised labels, etc) are in the same hanger from my last flat. I un-hooked it and carefully rolled it up, with contents still in the pockets, and then unrolled it when I unpacked so all my tools are ready to use!

What are your top tips for keeping your sewing space sorted?

I’m so looking forward to getting back to crafting this week, as two weeks feels like ages. I have a few unblogged garments to show you, that are awaiting photos, but I’m not sure there will ever be good light for photos for a few months. 

200th post… future crafty plans

A few weeks ago I reached 150 followers across wordpress and bloglovin and today this is my 200th blog post!

I got so many lovely and constructive comments on my giveaway post, I really wanted to think about all the comments (it has been a long day at work so it is nice to think about nice happy things) and think about how I can keep improving my little blog.

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Lots of people mentioned my fabric choices 🙂 Last year a friend commented that since I’ve started sewing I wear brighter colours and more prints; the best thing about sewing is being able to choose the combination of fabric and pattern that I like and not be controlled by fashion. I like picking fun and sometimes silly prints and I’m glad other people agree. There are some more fun fabrics hanging on my drying rack at the moment and I have some even crazier ideas on my shopping list… (Christmas party dress made from Christmas print fabric…?!)

There were some clear requests for wishes for the future; more/better/snazzier photos and tutorials/info about fitting and projects.

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I’d love to take pictures in more locations but I’m still building up the confidence to take my tripod and remote out and about in public, so you’ll have to put up with exciting hallway shots for a little longer (my flat is tiny so if I need a full length shot, I have to go in the hall as it is the only place I have more than a metre of floor space!) Earlier in the year I deliberated for a long time about putting my face on my blog; I’m a teacher so am aware of what I post online being potentially visible to pupils/parents, but I also realised that all the blogs I enjoyed reading the most were the ones where I could visualise the writer.

I’m definitely going to write some tutorials (when I get a quiet weekend I actually spend at home) to show some of my adjustments and fitting fixes. I’ve learned most of my sewing tricks from reading other blogs and sometimes assume everyone reads the same blogs as me so know the same tips as I do; with so many blogs in existence this is obviously not true, so it would be a pleasure to share my knowledge with my corner of the web. Let me know if there are any specific projects that you want tutorials for; my to-do list includes FBA on princess seams (Elisalex), making my croquis, t-shirt pattern alterations, and a big project that is yet to be revealled…

I was in a pretty lousy mood when I sat down at the computer, but writing this post has cheered me up so much 🙂 The sewing community is really so supportive (not a single nasty comment) and all the comments were so thoughtful, the “blog audit” was so much better than I anticipated. Leave a message below (or say hi on twitter) if you want me to give your blog 2 stars and a wish!

 

 

Pom Pom Parade

 

The other day I told you about The Campaign for Wool’s attempt to set a new Guinness World Record for pom-pom sheep. Since it was at the zoo, one of my favourite places to visit, I decided to pop down and play with yarn.

There were lots of tables full of crafty goodies to make pom-pom sheep, and all the yarn was pure wool! It felt a bit extravagant to be making pom-poms with such snuggly wool, but the whole point of the record was to raise awareness of wool.

When I made pom poms as a child we used cardboard donut-shapes and cut them away, but here you can see the donuts are made from foam and can be pulled over and off the fluffy wool.

It was so much fun that I couldn’t resist making two little sheep. Before joining the flock, we went for a walk around the kids corner of the zoo.

 

 

 

On the way back to the woolly pavilion I bumped into Shaun the Sheep!
Then it was time to say goodbye to my super soft fluffy friends. Can you spot them in the holding pen?

I also found another activity that kept me occupied for an hour or so, but it is so exciting it needs its own blog post later on… In the meantime here is a teaser of what I was doing…

***Reminder: My celebratory giveaway closes tomorrow! ***